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Wednesday 30th September 2020
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Community Award


Howletts Pharmacy

When it comes to meeting the needs of the local community, few can match Howletts Pharmacy.

Put simply, they offer an excellent service to their patients and, led by the superintendent pharmacist Pritee Panchmatia, constantly strive to go the extra mile for them.

As well as providing top class services, they are known for fighting for their patients’ rights. When clinical commissioning groups in north west London started preventing repeat prescription requests from going through pharmacies, the health of elderly and disabled patients was in jeopardy.

Some surgeries put a blanket stop on all requests but as a team, Howletts worked hard to ensure their patients received the care and assistance they needed.

“Its what sets them out, their ability to stand up for their patients when there’s hardship,” another judge remarked.

The staff ensures that everyone coming into the pharmacy is handled with kindness and compassion. That has created a calm and relaxed atmosphere.

Everyone in the team has an important role to play. Even the delivery driver has qualified as a healthcare assistant and is making a huge difference to the pharmacy by implementing health campaigns.

“An excellent pharmacy that services its community passionately. A real community pharmacy in every sense of the term,” another judge said.


Morecambe Bay Chemist

Going the extra mile for his patients is second nature to Ashok Jhalley, the owner of Morecambe Bay Chemist.

Situated in the centre of Morecambe, the pharmacy is not the first choice for any of the local surgeries yet it out performs all of them and it is easy to see why - unrelenting dedication to its patients and first-class service delivery.

On one occasion an elderly patient who used another pharmacy was told at 6pm on a Friday that an item on prescription was out of stock. She had run out of medication and was house-bound but the pharmacy told her to collect her script and take it elsewhere.

Ashok, who was still at work, offered to collect the script from the pharmacy which was two miles away and deliver it to the patient on his way home. She is now a regular customer at Morecambe Bay Chemist.

“This guy has absolutely gone and nailed it. He is the one people go to. He knows everyone,” one judge said.

Another said: “Everyone gets sent to him from other pharmacies and he’s grown and grown. The pharmacy is a real part of the local community.”

Ashok recently installed a second consultation room to deliver more services but his engagement with patients is second to none. On another occasion he visited a patient who was struggling to use his newly prescribed AeroChamber because the pharmacy that dispensed it failed to tell the patient how to use it.

As a result, he got the cap stuck in the front of it, so no dose arrived in the chamber. That was until Ash intervened.


Rebecca Dew, North East London LPC

Having joined North East London LPC five years ago as an apprentice, Rebecca Dew has become a key part of the team – the LPC and its pharmacies are in good hands.

She has worked tirelessly on behalf of contractors, making sure they do not fall foul of any deadlines and sourcing opportunities for pharmacies to engage in innovative services. That has not only provided contractors with new income streams and increased business but benefitted the pharmacy’s patients and local communities.

One of many examples of Rebecca’s great work was her involvement in the delivery of a joint LPC and North East London Foundation Trust project which was supported by a Health Foundation grant to improving physical healthcare for patients with psychosis through collaborative working with community pharmacies.

She played a key role in keeping pharmacists motivated to complete their training and provided access to resources and support to deliver the project and record the results.

“Would I like to have Rebecca in my LPC? You bet I would. She’s a tigress, a real champion,” one awards judge said.

She has also ensured 99% of pharmacies in the area completed their Community Pharmacy Assurance Framework declaration on time and reviewed their quality payments scheme submissions on a regular basis.

And earlier this year she challenged Capita who were struggling to get payments to pharmacies for their pre-reg students. Rather than advise each pharmacy individually, she made a point of chasing Capita herself, finally receiving all the outstanding money.

“She was able to chase up all those calls on behalf of all the pharmacists. That was absolutely brilliant,” another judge said

Johnson & Johnson Perfect Pharmacy Store


HealthPoint Pharmacy

When it comes to a pharmacy that makes life easy for patients looking for quick access to services, look no further than HealthPoint Pharmacy.

The business is an excellent example of how a pharmacy can be easy to navigate with clear signage and well positioned and marketed merchandise.

With the support of Johnson & Johnson, Balbinder and his wife Harjinder have taken this recently refitted pharmacy and, in the words of one judge, “made it flow.” 

Clear signage and shelf edge markers lead you initially though a health and beauty pharmacy complimented with baby ranges and seasonal gifts, then into the medical section of the business.

Travelling up a small dividing ramp, you know immediately you are in the GSL and P medicine section as the visuals change and the health promotion messages are evident, supported by a pharmacy team ready to provide advice.

“It’s a really good, stand-out pharmacy. You know when you walk in that everything is neat with well-placed visual merchandising,” another judge said.

Another said: “They’ve seen a real uplift in sales. It’s an exceedingly good pharmacy and they are a great team.”

With great attention to merchandising detail, the team have seen that small changes can have a major impact, one line experiencing sales grow by approximately 40% just by repositioning it into the customers’ eye line.

There is a maturity to the pharmacy too, its layout containing wider aisles to allow access for prams, pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. 


Midway Pharmacy

As soon as you walk into Midway Pharmacy you can tell it always puts the customer at the heart of everything it does.

Having recently undergone a refit, the pharmacy is light, bright and airy as you walk through the door and its team, supported by J&J, are knowledgeable and fully engaged with the merchandise.

The refit provided the pharmacy with a new consultation room and although it reduced shop floor space, the team have not lost sales as the range rationalisation has focused the team on the products that sell thanks again to support from J&J.

“It’s had the J&J effect. It’s visual point of sale merchandising is very good. There’s not a huge amount of space but it has very, very good standards,” one judge said.

The introduction of bright and clear signage in terms of navigational shelf tabs and headers to help improve category visibility has considerably enhanced the pharmacy’s appearance and made it more inviting and recognisable to customers as a retail destination - not just a pharmacy they visit to just collect prescriptions.

Category reorganisation and use of strong, colourful presentation material has given the pharmacy a fresher, more consistent, contemporary and professional appearance.

Many of its customers are on a distress mission and want their experience in-store to be quick, easy and effective, something that has been made possible by clear shelf and fixture signage and the grouping together of categories.


Western Elms Pharmacy

There is no doubt that Western Elms Pharmacy has given tremendous thought as to how best to meet the needs of its customers.

The team, supported by Johnson & Johnson, rethought the signposting and flow of the shop to make it a more positive and logical shopping experience.

Customers can easily find the products they want and the lines relate to the demographic of the area. Indeed, Western Elms has adopted a highly effective pharmacy model, using it to cut OTC spends and increase their sales by ensuring they have the right products on their shelves.

They have used planograms to give stock the greatest visual impact for customers and increased their footfall as a result. By supporting the new team to learn how to merchandise the pharmacy, understand its local market and provide point of sale and shelf-edge markers, J&J have enabled the pharmacy to provide excellent customer care without having to worry about retail space.

“There is a huge amount of retail support and they offer really good pharmacy support thanks to the support of Johnson & Johnson,” one awards judge said.

Organisation is the key. The pharmacy has a seasonal calendar at its head office which is controlled by the retail team which dictates when the seasonal lines will change.

And using Pharmagenius website, the team have accessed training modules to develop their knowledge of products and advise customers with confidence.

Local Health Initiative of the Year Award


A.R. Pharmacy

One of the great things about A.R. Pharmacy, led by its talented young pharmacist James Tibbs, is its ability to get out into its local community and make a difference to people’s lives.

As one of the first independent Healthy Living Pharmacies in the Hampshire area, they not only provide a high level of services inside the pharmacy but take services out to hard-to-reach groups.

For example, they work very closely with one of the area’s most deprived populations, the Gypsy and traveller community, providing health checks and flu vaccinations in the community hall.

That saw Hampshire County Council commission the service which delivers health checks to people aged 30 and older from the Gypsy and traveller community.

“They are a real pharmacy business and do great work in the community,” one judge said. 

Another said: “It’s simply brilliant work with the traveller community and the services they provide. He’s rolled his sleeves up and empowered his staff to free him up.” Indeed, A.R. Pharmacy delivers a wide range of public health interventions, such as signposting people to the local gym where they can get half price membership as part of a scheme to support residents to lose weight.

The pharmacy also works closely with the local college and developed a student mentor scheme which sees James coach students on health topics such as sexual health.


Totley Pharmacy

Totley Pharmacy provide excellent pharmacy care to its community, including services such as medicines use reviews, new medicine service, surgical dispensing, monitored dosage systems, minor ailments, stop smoking, weight loss and medicines deliveries.

This year they formed a partnership with St Luke's Hospice and donated £25,000 to help raise their profile. They also jointly sponsor Sheffield United Football Club.

In partnership with Sheffield United Community Foundation, the pharmacy also worked with a local primary school and organised a walking football tournament to promote healthy living and exercise for the young and old.

“They have great traction on social media and a terrific connection with the local community,” one judge said. “You can’t dispute they are good. Great community work.”

The pharmacy’s owner Tajinder Singh was elected vice-president of local support group Breathe Easy for people with breathing illnesses and arranges inhaler training days for their members.

The pharmacy works closely with local volunteer bodies such as Transport 17 and the library to generate publicity and fund-raise and runs a voucher scheme with a local greengrocer to promote healthy living and support local businesses.

Customers choose to visit the pharmacy because they know that Tajinder and his team provide the highest levels of care.


Viral Doshi

Viral has caught the eye, not only for possibly being the only pharmacist working in a local authority in the country, but for a fantastic local health initiative that his community in Hillingdon have benefitted from.

He launched a community pharmacy weight management enhanced service having identified a successful project that was developed by Queen Mary University.

Right from the start, he had a clear plan of action which he communicated effectively to stakeholders and partners and worked closely with the local CCG, LPC and local pharmacies to roll the service out.

Leading a dedicated and knowledgeable pharmacy team, Viral supports local residents with a weekly interventional behavioural support programme which, as well as helping them lose weight, is designed to educate them on the steps they ned to take to improve their overall health and wellbeing through exercise and a healthy diet.

“He does some absolutely great training and he has got out into his community to make an impact,” one awards judge said.

Another noted: “He’s got PGDs, service delivery. Brilliant work. I wish he would relocate into my territory.”

Viral has supported local pharmacies to deliver a stop smoking service and been instrumental in creating and implementing the Champix PGD. He has also developed an atrial fibrillation and COPD screening tool.

Public Health Pharmacist Award


Day Lewis Pharmacy, Hull

Led by manager Neil Mowbray, this branch of Day Lewis provides many public health services, from minor ailments, emergency contraception, supervised consumption and stop smoking, to NHS Health Checks and the national flu service.

“They run a very thorough service covering many areas with discreet zones that convey public health messages. It’s very impressive,” said one awards judge.

The pharmacy is an all-round health hub for patients and their first port of call for medical queries. They run numerous health promotion campaigns and have two Health Champions, Rory and Yvette, who have helped deliver those campaigns in the pharmacy, on the busy high street, in community groups and any other local venue they can find.

They have truly embraced the Healthy Living Pharmacy concept, prompting another judge to suggest: “When you stand back and look at it, this pharmacy is the perfect example of a HLP.”

Their travel clinic has information about different parts of the world and the room where they supervise patients has information on dental care, nutrition, alcohol and smoking.

“You can copy their ideas for other pharmacies and allow them to emulate what they have done,” another judge said. “Independents can learn about documenting evidence from these guys.”

The pharmacy’s links with the local surgeries is excellent and with its strong focus on health interventions, local practices refer people directly to them while the branch’s relationship with the CCG is also strong.


The Priory Pharmacy

An excellent public health pharmacy spearheaded by Olutayo Arikawe, Priory runs many services that are critical to its community.

These include chlamydia screening and treatment, HIV screening, weight management, vascular age service, alcohol advice, smoking cessation, health checks, blood pressure monitoring, blood glucose check, allergy service, flu vaccinations, emergency hormonal contraception, travel advice, pregnancy testing, needle exchange, minor ailments service and inhaler recycling scheme.

Yet the pharmacy is also part of a safe place scheme where people feeling vulnerable can go for support. It also invites three local councillors each week to run their drop-in clinic from the pharmacy and local support groups are always present.

“What can you say about Olutayo. She’s magnificent. She’s left no stone unturned,” one judge said.

There are three healthy living champions and all members of staff are dementia friends, antibiotic champions and National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training-accredited smoking cessation practitioners.

And in spreading public health messages, they visit the library, colleges, pubs, Salvation Army, widows club, churches, community centres, supermarkets and town centres. The pharmacy also holds a health promotion event at Dudley College each week.

Pharmacy Team Award


Deborah Pearce, Day Lewis Wetherby

Under the supervision of pharmacy manager Deborah Pearce, Day Lewis in Wetherby has a team with a modus operandi that makes patient care look seamless.

The team is made up of Deborah, her assistant Claire, Lenka, Jane and Tracie and each one of them has their own key roles and responsibilities while also being able to cover for one another if necessary.

Jane takes a lead on dementia as she trained with the adjoining surgery, Lenka organises a very slick monitored dosage system, Claire plans all the staff roles and manages the paperwork and claims and Tracie, a retired nurse, brings a different skill-set and approach to the team.

“You look for a sense of how well the team is gelling and within 30 seconds you can see there is very good communication between them,” one judge said.

Another remarked: “The pharmacy manager doesn’t have to tell them what to do. It just happens.”

The team manages lots of consultations that might have otherwise required a referral to the practice nurse.

What also caught the judges’ eye was their creation of new team roles for staff, such as team captain and customer service manager, roles which rotate across the team. And preparation is the key.

A great example is the upcoming flu season which the team started planning for well in advance, deciding how staff would co-ordinate the paperwork, ensuring vaccines were ready so all the pharmacist needed to do was a quick review, inject the patient, then hand them back to staff for a post-service review.


Olutayo Arikawe, The Priory Pharmacy

The pharmacy team led by Olutayo Arikawe have some big qualities. It is a team built on training, coaching and mentoring.

As a result, the pharmacy goes from strength to strength both from a medical and social viewpoint. Its decision to join the Safe Places National Network means they are able to offer people the chance to come to the pharmacy if they are scared or have nowhere else to go.

“Olutayo is brilliant. It’s no wonder she has won lots of awards,” one judge enthused. “She sees a number of people to stop them ending up in crisis. It’s a brilliant pharmacy team.”

Another judge said: “They’ve done excellent work with mental health. Superb work. She broke new ground with the services she’s doing.”

The pharmacy invites three local councillors each week to run their drop-in clinic from the pharmacy and local support groups are always present.

“She inspires other independents to do what she is doing,” another judge suggested. “She’s done an awful lot of leadership training and you can see that in her work.”

Olutayo has five consultation rooms and rents out at least two every day, each one used by a local health check nurse who sees patients booked into the service and a mental health nurse who sees people via a self-referral system.

The team uses the skills of a technician who works most of her week in local surgeries helping with prescribing and reviewing high-risk medicines. She closely liaises with the pharmacy, in particular the lead dispenser, to ensure patients are compliant and any concerns are addressed.

Olutayo also arranges for her team to attend public health training events and allows pharmaceutical companies to provide training sessions in the pharmacy.


Pritee Panchmatia, Howletts Pharmacy

To say that the team at Howletts Pharmacy offers excellent customer care to their patients is something of an understatement. They are inspirational.

Their local surgeries often refer patients to them even though some are over 10 minutes’ walk away and past other pharmacies.

“They go the extra mile for their patients who are very well looked after. The team is very well focused,” one judge said.

Pritee, the pharmacy’s superintendent pharmacist, oversees the team to great effect. An example of their excellence was encapsulated by one incident; after spending time with a gentleman whose wife was struggling with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, the team’s attention turned to how he was struggling to cope.

The gentleman resolutely insisted he was responsible for the care of his wife but Pritee was able to get him to agree to the involvement of his GP. Thanks to Pritee and her team, he accepted some support and was even able to go away with his wife on holiday – something that would not have been possible before pharmacy’s intervention.

“The role they play in their community is absolutely inspirational,” another judge said. “Without that team, many people in the local community would struggle. That say everything about that team.”

The team’s delivery driver qualified as a healthcare assistant and is making a huge difference to the pharmacy by implementing health campaigns.

Four of the team also attended a course on atrial fibrillation (AF) medicines use reviews and, working with Harefield Hospital, have identified people who could be suffering from undiagnosed AF

Young Pharmacist of the Year Award


Diana Gitonga

Diana has put the ‘community’ into community pharmacy. With a willingness to learn and get out of the four walls of Kellaway Pharmacy in Bristol to make a difference to people’s lives, she is an inspiration.

She has embarked on a variety of activities in the local community including a ‘Know your Numbers’ campaign to raise awareness of blood pressure which was carried out in two local gyms, a fish and chip shop and local church.

After she wrote an article in a local magazine on the importance of having flu vaccinations, flu vaccine uptake in the pharmacy increased by 80%. Diana also tirelessly engages patients in the new medicine service which has witnessed a rise in the number of people signing up.

“Diana is brilliant. She has got out into her local community, got her sleeves rolled up and got stuck in,” one judge said. “I think she is a little superstar.”

Never one to procrastinate, Diana worked closely with her tutor to deliver medicines training to the care homes served by the pharmacy, including how to reduce waste, improve ordering systems and how to make the best use of a patient’s medicines.

The result? Far better communication between the pharmacy and care homes leading to improved services all round.

“This really does show that community pharmacy is ideally placed to provide the lead pharmacist support to a home,” another judge remarked.

She also produced a series of leaflets on eye care training and inhaler techniques to share with care home workers to remind them of simple interventions and gave a talk at a local toddler group to about 50 women – who were told to visit their pharmacy first if their child is unwell.


Marisa Maciborka

Having completed her pre-registration at Bedminster Pharmacy in Bristol, Marisa is more than ready to take the next step in her career.

During her pre-reg she played an important part in a number of services including blood pressure checks and weight management and her impact was impressive, supporting many customers to lose weight, encouraging them to do more exercise and reducing their blood pressure.

Such was her impact that the weight management programme she ran saw 15% more patients join compared with last year. Marisa also supported an average reduction in weight of 25%, one of the highest in the city.

“What has set her apart is the way that she didn’t just wait for people to walk through the door expecting advice. She promoted the service on the pharmacy’s social media accounts, and in particular advertising it on Facebook,” one judge said.

One patient went from 90kg to 78kg and was able to stop taking their warfarin as a result. A smoking cessation advisor and Bedminster’s blood pressure check lead, Marisa has worked to improve the set-up of the MDS trays and improved the pharmacy’s relationships with local GPs to ensure the smooth delivery of compliance aids to the local population.

“I would have had no problem being served by Marisa. In fact, I would feel pretty fortunate being served by her because you just know your questions and health needs will be met,” another judge said.


Thorrun Govind

One Pharmacy Business Awards judge summed it up perfectly when he described Thorrun as “a one-woman pharmacy advocacy machine.” It was barely an exaggeration.

Thorrun has been inspired in drawing the attention - notably that of ministers and key decision-makers – towards the excellence of community pharmacy.

Despite having recently turned just 26, it feels like she has been around for many more years simply because she has thrust herself into the media spotlight so often to wax lyrical about her profession.

Since her days at University she has been writing articles on community pharmacy, something she has keenly continued in the pharmacy and national press, and has been the resident pharmacist on BBC Radio Lancashire where she gives listeners free health advice on own pharmacy phone-in show.

She is also a prolific Tweeter, with over 3,000 followers, and if that was not enough she won election to the English Pharmacy Board.

“She is head and shoulders above the others,” enthused one judge. “The fact she’s an RPS board member and what she has achieved…it’s frankly brilliant. She has a great CV.”

Thorrun has also involved herself in the ‘I’m a Scientist’ project where she talks about pharmacy to 11 to 18-year-olds online and has avidly supported PSNC and National Pharmacy Association media campaigns to promote pharmacy as well as seek out local councillors and MPs to showcase the work of pharmacy.

“She also finds time to regularly practice as a locum in a local community pharmacy,” another judge said. “What more can you say about Thorrun?”

Natural Healthcare Pharmacy Award


Allchin Chemist

A highly impressive pharmacy, Allchin Pharmacy works closely with its local community to provide a wide range of services outside of routine medication dispensing.

The team, led by pharmacist Miran Shah, educate their customers on the benefits natural medication can have on their quality of life and use their medicines use review and new medicine service interactions to highlight the benefits of natural health.

“They’ve done their course and learnt about natural health,” one judge remarked. “Miran manages people and follows up with them to find a solution very well.”

Allchin has invested heavily in natural healthcare remedies as well as new health and beauty ranges and Miran ensures his team are provided with a huge range of training opportunities to develop their knowledge base.

He receives support from suppliers and buying groups and has worked to develop natural products, from homeopathy to herbal preparations. By providing reference books and recourse cards his team are able to speak with confidence to the patients.

“You have to take your hat off to him. He has a well-drilled team of experts all ready and willing to talk customers through natural healthcare,” another judge said.

Miran has also introduced screening services. One service, offered by MediCheck which looks at a range of deficiencies from low thyroid function to lack of vitamin D, has started to bring in revenue to the pharmacy.

And another strength of the pharmacy is its ability to support patients’ wellness by addressing their physical, nutritional and psychological needs to uncover the root cause of their ailment, not just manage the symptoms


The Health Dispensary 

The Health Dispensary, spearheaded by its director Ali Sparkes, has taken an intelligent approach to natural health.

Rather than forcing products on customers, they give them the chance to make an informed decision by providing them with all the information they need when they come in for a prescription or over-the-counter sale.

Introducing their clientele to natural ways of looking after their health, such as nutrition, holistic therapies or simply the way in which they think about their health, has paid dividends. Despite negative media coverage around the efficacy of natural health and the government’s attitude to it, people still opt for natural medicine.

And the entire operation, from the pharmacy to its website, is very impressive. “What a lovely pharmacy,” one awards judge remarked. “The website is brilliant, beautifully put together.”

Another judge said: “Her use of social media is strong. This lady has embarked on an impressive marketing strategy.”

The pharmacy is very active on social media, with marketing activity on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to complement the leaflets they provide to customers, enabling Ali to reach out to people who don’t normally use their services.

The Health Dispensary has five therapy rooms and offers acupuncture and reflexology. They also have an osteopath and a hearing clinic.

Not one for procrastination, Ali is sponsoring a PhD student this year to research whether community pharmacies are suitable places to deliver mental health interventions. The project has just started but watch this space.


Pestle and Mortar Pharmacy

Pestle and Mortar Pharmacy prides itself on supporting natural medication and remedies.

The business has dedicated its sales floor to natural health products and health and beauty – indeed, one entire side of the pharmacy is dedicated to natural health remedies.

Its pharmacist is trained in natural remedies and customers from other pharmacies have been recommended to Pestle and Mortar for his expertise.

“It’s a good pharmacy. They’ve got a couple of local multiples close to them but patients are still referred to them. There’s certainly no knocking them,” one judge said.

Whilst the pharmacy promotes natural healthcare at every opportunity, its staff takes the time to understand their customers and do not recommend a natural product if that is not the best option for them.

They have many customers looking to purchase sleep aids and, like all good pharmacies, are prepared to educate them about the products.

The pharmacy receives support from local reps to continue developing the team and the manager, Dipak Patel, plays a key role in speaking to patients and supporting staff, ensuring they feel confident with the products.

And such is the reputation of Pestle and Mortar that other local pharmacies refer patients to it as they have far more flexibility to order products.

“If I went to this pharmacy, I’m confident I would be well looked after and have any queries about natural health answered,” another judge said.

Innovation Award


Firstcare Connection CIC

Firstcare Connection, a company established by community pharmacists in North East London in May 2016, supports the local commissioning of community pharmacy services with more than a hint of innovation.

It was set up in response to the changing pharmacy landscape and, with his background in commissioning, Janaka Perera has been able to give a different perspective to the LPC regarding how to approach tenders, especially getting commissioners to release funds for community pharmacy.

By engaging with a range of strategic and planning groups and boards across north east London, Firstcare Connection has raised the profile of community pharmacy and impressed upon commissioners the training community pharmacists in the area have undergone.

That has seen stakeholders’ perception of the sector change in terms of how the pharmacy workforce can support the delivery of a range of integrated patient pathways and health and social care system.

“They are pioneering in many ways in their approach to tendering and getting services commissioned,” one judge said.

The company is firmly focused on becoming the lead on new contracts coming out across the localities of north east London and has also been looking to increase IT interoperability to ensure pharmacy systems provide a seamless transfer of information into other primary and secondary care systems.

“Is this type of work occurring in other areas?” another judge asked. “They have to be a very strong contender for the award because they are doing things that many other parts of the country are not.”


Hala Jawad,

Hala Jawad, the infectiously enthusiastic pharmacist, has created something unique. Her passion for doing new and innovative things led her to create AskHala, a website that allows patients to access high quality pharmacist advice 24/7.

“When you look for things you haven’t seen before, she’s great. She is enthusiastic, passionate. And she is managing it all,” one judge observed.

Hala came up with her creation after noticing a constant stream of health questions from people on Facebook and LinkedIn. Now they can go to Hala’s website, select a topic and get an answer. And it is simple to use. Patients send in their questions, wait for a reply and receive their advice.

“I absolutely love Hala. She is always trying to think outside the box and her dedication to problem-solving, no matter how difficult, is second to none,” another judge said.

Her website has been getting about 50 requests each week but that number has been growing steadily.

It covers medication information and advice and information on long-term conditions, smoking cessation, sexual health, health and well-being, minor ailments, dementia, over-the-counter medication and how to take medicines safely.

Hala wants to secure funding to offer the advice service, perhaps from NHS England or other community pharmacies who could have patients referred to them from the site.

“It is a very interesting project from a very innovative lady,” another judge said.


Wellington Pharmacy

Wellington Pharmacy embraced innovation on an impressive scale when pharmacist Jaspal Rahania and the team took the plunge and installed a dispensing robot. That investment has seen the pharmacy become a hub of activity, dispensing a high number of items. Yet it is not only the robot that caught the eyes of the tech-hungry Pharmacy Business Awards judges.

The pharmacy underwent a refit which saw them design a healthcare centre that has improved efficiency. Wellington contains working pods where the team label and receive products. The dispensed baskets are then stored ready to check.

Yet technology has been used intelligently. Because there is no longer any retail space, any products not stocked are ordered for customers and scanned into the robot, only to be retrieved when the customer returns.

“They are dispensing a great number of items and they have changed the way they order their products. It’s a great use of the robot,” one judge said.

Another said: “They are doing some great work with medicines use reviews and the new medicine service.”

The EPOS system allows their team to book patients into an appointment system for any consultations required and this year they will use the system for the first time to deliver the flu service. The refit has allowed the team to spend much more time with patients

“This pharmacy has been transformed and using techniques available to many pharmacies has really made a difference,” another judge remarked.

Pharmacy Assistant Award


Ashley Matthews, O’Briens Pharmacy

An extremely experienced accuracy checking technician (ACT), Ashley has taken on a role that was once strictly reserved for the pharmacist - services lead for O’Briens Pharmacy.

Working two days a week as an ACT, she is leading the way for innovative service development in the pharmacy and prefers to spend the remaining three days supporting her different clients through the range of services offered in the pharmacy or out in the community performing outreach events.

She is a community pharmacy assistant in every aspect, getting out to the job centre, schools, local businesses, library and the YMCA, offering health checks and signposting people to the pharmacy for smoking, alcohol or weight management services.

“She has taken a great approach to her local community and developed some great services. She is driving the agenda,” one judge said.

Another said: “I would love to have someone like Ashley in my pharmacy. She is showing maturity of thought which is lacking in many pharmacists.”

Having noticed services were being commissioned in other local areas, she started formulating a business plan to kickstart commissioned services in her area and is set to be the pharmacy lead for a COPD screening project later this year. That will see her screen patients at various in-pharmacy and outreach events.


Jayne Cawthorne, Day Lewis Pharmacy

What makes a pharmacy assistant stand out is their willingness to go the extra mile for their patients – and that is exactly what Jayne does.

There have been numerous occasions when she has gone to other pharmacies to source products for her patients. When the pharmacy closed one weekend and the pharmacist had left, she drove to another local pharmacy with the prescription, had it dispensed and delivered it back to the pharmacy.

On another occasion when an elderly gentleman came into the pharmacy, the pharmacy fridge broke down and that meant there was no insulin in stock. The gentleman did not drive and the bus service was hit and miss, so Jayne told the patient that she would sort it out and deliver the medication later.

She located the stock in a pharmacy four miles away, took the prescription, collected the medication and delivered it after work.

“She is a great example of going the extra mile. She really looks after her patients,” one awards judge observed.

Another said: “She must be utterly inspirational to work with. Her patients are in very good hands with Jayne.”

In the run-up to Christmas and because the surgery no longer allows the pharmacy to order medication, she took the time to contact all monitored dosage system and vulnerable patients to remind them when to order their medication and how much to order to see them safely through the season.

Health & Beauty Pharmacy Award


Allchin Chemist

Allchin Pharmacy is a worthy contender for the Health and Beauty Award.

Having worked closely with the local community to develop a pharmacy that provides a wide range of services, pharmacist Miran Shah has invested heavily in natural healthcare remedies and new health and beauty ranges.

Miran takes the lead on ensuring his team are provided with a huge range of training opportunities to develop their knowledge and they receive support from suppliers and buying groups.

Miran also recently introduced a new range, Fillerina, which is a non-evasive cream to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and has worked to develop natural products, from homeopathy to herbal preparations.

“You’ve got to give Miran credit for tapping into health and beauty effectively. And people do want health and beauty products and advice from their local pharmacy,” one judge said.

The pharmacy’s team are trained in health and beauty and are able to speak with confidence to patients. Brand awareness helps customers make informed decisions.

“Health and beauty is not to be frowned at. Done the right way, it can generate very useful revenue for a community pharmacy,” another judge noted.


The Health Dispensary

The Health Dispensary was re-branded in 2016 when it incorporated the health and beauty unit next door and it has not looked back.

It had been owned by the pharmacy since 2012 but once the units had been knocked through it became a community pharmacy with a difference.

The pharmacy offers an extensive range of natural remedies along with complimentary health and beauty treatments and these have been popular with customers.

“They’ve identified an opportunity to tap into health and beauty in the pharmacy and why not,” one judge said. “Profit is not a dirty word and in the current climate of cuts, pharmacists have to explore every avenue they can to generate revenue.”

The Health Dispensary, led by its director Ali Sparkes, is very active on social media, with marketing activity on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to complement information leaflets they give customers.

Much of Ali’s time these days is spent studying marketing and how to engage people online, largely because the pharmacy has a full-time pharmacist.

“People in the area know they can come to this pharmacy for any health and beauty need they have,” another judge remarked. “It is a neat and tidy operation that leaves no stone unturned when it comes to natural health and health and beauty.”


Warman-Freed Pharmacy

Warman-Freed Pharmacy was described by one awards judge as “a recently refitted health and beauty masterpiece.” And you can see why.

When you step into the pharmacy you get that ‘wow’ factor. The refit was overseen by general manager and superintendent Farah Ali who had a vision to transform a traditional pharmacy into an up-to-date clinical pharmacy.

Year after year Warman-Freed has grown its health and beauty business in a very challenging pharmacy environment, largely because it has been clear about its identity from the start. It is the leading health and beauty pharmacy in its locality, capturing the market from the local competition.

“What a fantastic pharmacy,” another judge said. “They’ve got some big clients and no wonder. It is a beautiful pharmacy and continues to add to its health and beauty ranges. It’s a strong contender.”

Additions to the pharmacy’s range in the last year include Bioderma and Caudalie but what marks this out as an excellent pharmacy is its work in the local community.

They have organised health and beauty events and promotions to engage customers, including skincare scans which were supported by Caudalie-trained professionals, and have gone outside the pharmacy to raise awareness of simple changes to support healthy living.

The pharmacy has also launched a paid-for blood pressure testing service while one of its consultation rooms is being used three times a week by a podiatrist and three evening sessions by a skin doctor to look for conditions such as skin cancer. This delivers additional turnover for the pharmacy.

“A visually stunning pharmacy but one that looks after those who walk through its doors,” another judge said.

Enterprise Award


Newington Pharmacy, Edinburgh 

Innovative technology in community pharmacy has been taken to new heights at Newington Pharmacy.

Having recognised a glaring need in the local community for increased access to GP appointments for acute conditions, the pharmacy partnered with MedicSpot and now offer booked or drop-in GP appointments.

The service is brilliant. MedicSpot, a virtual GP surgery in the pharmacy’s consultation room complete with what is known as a ‘clinical station,’ allows doctors to perform examinations of patients via a two-way live video link.

It is the first service of its kind in the UK. The ‘clinical station’ holds equipment such as a stethoscope, medicam, pulse oximeter, thermometer and blood pressure monitor to help GPs make a diagnosis.

Pharmacist Shahzad Aziz has been using the technology at Newington Pharmacy to the tremendous benefit of his patients.

In the vast majority of cases the system resolves the condition and results in a private prescription being issued which is sent back to the pharmacy to be dispensed. That generates about 60 bookings a month.

“I love this because people come in and pay for consultations. And it’s all explained clearly to patients,” one judge said.

Another said: “We can showcase what they are doing. There’s no reason why other community pharmacies can’t do this. It’s excellent innovation.”

“It’s simply brilliant. How many other pharmacies are using technology like this?”



Developed by inspiring pharmacist Taskeel Khan, Reportsmart meets what has been a glaring need in community pharmacy for some time – a patient safety recording system.

For far too long there has been a big problem recording and acting on patient safety alerts, yet Reportsmart improves patient safety by automatically analysing trends.

“What a great guy, what an innovator,” said one awards judge. Another said: “I love the idea of providing this sort of recording system to record near misses.”

ReportSmart links together all aspects of patient safety reporting into one system. By taking near-miss data, alerts and incidents, Taskeel has been able to generate trend reports along with a monthly annual patient safety report that pulls together all of the learning and actions from the month.

The system also identifies trends in users, so if a dispenser is making a number of errors with inhalers, this can be flagged up to the supervising pharmacist who can provide additional training.

It is simple yet so effective and, critically, could save patients’ lives. The system is particularly useful for groups with more than one pharmacy because it collates data into a central management point which allows superintendent pharmacists to see incidents and create trend reports across an organisation.

“As always with this group of products, it’s well thought out, easy to use and required by the sector,” another judge said.

Reportsmart is web-based and can be accessed from any PC, laptop, or tablet within the pharmacy and data can be summarised across an organisation. An excellent use of digital technology.


Whitworth Chemist

Jay Badenhorst, the managing director of Whitworth Chemist, is a leading light in community pharmacy and has taken the profession to new heights.

Having appointed a pharmacist with an independent prescriber qualification in his 100-hour pharmacy who specialised in minor ailments, patients were able to access diagnosis and treatment.

The pharmacy’s use of video conferencing is brilliant too - patients in any of the 35 pharmacies within the group can access an independent prescriber from the consultation room in the pharmacy via Skype. This paid service has been a huge success and is growing, with over 30 consultations per month even in deprived areas.

“I absolutely love this. It is taking technology in the pharmacy to new levels and has improved patient care,” one awards judge said.

“Very quickly you were in that room with the independent prescriber. It’s so effective that even some of the most deprived areas are still using it and paying to use it. And it’s something every single contractor can do easily.”

The service, which sees prescriptions dispensed quickly and without any fuss, has received some excellent feedback from GPs LPCs and local authorities.

The pharmacy group also released a mobile phone app dedicated to Whitworth Chemist which is marketed through social media. It has been downloaded by over 1,000 people, allowing them to receive ‘stamps’ for spending a certain amount but, more importantly, allowed the pharmacy to get messages out to patients in a way they were not able to previously.

Pharmacy Business of the Year


A.R. Pharmacy

This pharmacy is at the forefront of NHS and private healthcare service delivery. They are a very well-run operation that meets the needs of their local community.

“You get the ‘wow’ factor with A.R. Pharmacy. And what a pharmacy they are!” one awards judge enthused.

Led by pharmacists James Tibbs, they have delivered the second most NHS flu vaccinations in the country and are consistently in the top five for the most new medicine service consultations.

They provide a travel clinic and aesthetics clinic where its independent pharmacist prescriber administers Botox and other aesthetic treatments and its stop smoking service has been one of the most successful in terms of quit rates in the Wessex area.

Crucially, they work closely with the local GP surgeries and provide many other services including erectile dysfunction, hair retention, sore throat test and treat, NHS and private health checks and weight management.

“You almost run out of superlatives when you talk about this pharmacy. The success they have had has been inspiring. A lesson for other independents,” another judge said.

A.R. Pharmacy is a family-run and owned business that was established almost 30 years ago and James and his team have taken it on to new heights.

What they have achieved outside the pharmacy is just as impressive as what they have achieved in it, working very closely with one of the most deprived populations - the Gypsy and traveller community - giving them access to health checks and flu vaccinations from the local community hall.

The pharmacy has since been commissioned by Hampshire County Council to provide health checks to the Gypsy and traveller community.

The business has also enjoyed consistent growth in both turnover, custom and prescription items - its travel clinic has attracted customers from far and wide – and the pharmacy has a unique design combining elements of traditional apothecary with high tech European-style modern pharmacy.

There is a pharmacy dispensing robot and four consultation rooms. It is no wonder customers keep returning to A.R. Pharmacy.


Pinhoe Pharmacy

Pinhoe Pharmacy has set high standards in healthcare and continues to meet those standards.

With two pharmacists on duty at all times, everyone who walks through its doors gets a personalised service from a clinician. Yet that level of support does not stop with the pharmacists.

All the staff are fully trained, each possessing their own iPad to complement their consultation with the patient, allowing them to bring up support material from sites such as or NHS Choices and reference the information when discussing a condition with someone.

Spearheaded by pharmacist Archie Unger, the pharmacy also produces a newsletter for patients which they post out every three months and covers healthy eating and living, medicines information.

Like all good pharmacies, they are the first port of call for people because of their professional knowledge and proactive use of IT at the point of need. When they refer patients to the surgery those patients are prioritised because they have been to the pharmacy.

One example was a visually impaired patient who came in with an infected umbilicus. The pharmacy had a look at the problem, arranged a doctor’s appointment for the patient and took her home.

Two hours later a prescription for two creams was prescribed and delivered and Archie’s team followed that up with a phone call to the patient to ascertain how she was. That is just a typical day at Pinhoe

“It’s definitely a very good pharmacy. Their use of iPads and technology brings that bit extra at the point of consultation with the patient,” one judge said.

Another said: “I would be assured and confident that all my health needs would be met if I went into this pharmacy. It’s a terrific pharmacy.”

Each week the team choose a disease for one colleague to provide feedback on during their team meetings. This is then shared amongst the whole team to upskill everyone. The team also discusses other events such as near misses or critical incidents as they plan the week ahead. 


Whitworth Chemist

Professional, modern, friendly for patients, Whitworth Chemist is an excellent community pharmacy.

Overseen by Jay Badenhorst, the managing director of Whitworth Chemists Ltd, the pharmacy has two consultation rooms - one with a discrete area for methadone supervision - and a dispensary which has seen prescription volume growth double over five years.

The pharmacy underwent a refit because of the growth in services, giving the business a better layout, the two consultation areas and much-improved retail offering.

And what success they have had. The number of flu vaccinations doubled, 400 MURs were completed by April this year, NMS rollout has been strong, and private services such as travel vaccinations, sexual health and occupational health have generated valuable revenue.

Better category layout, category management and team morale have contributed to the pharmacy’s success.

“It’s a well-run pharmacy, fantastically well managed. And it’s good to see pharmacies outside of London making money from services,” one judge said.

The pharmacy claimed maximum points for the Pharmacy Quality Payments scheme and a General Pharmaceutical Council inspection gave it a ‘good’ rating.

The Hull and District Diabetes Support Group regularly visits Whitworth Chemist for collaborative working and awareness campaigns and Katie, the pharmacist manager, has worked closely with the local community and MPs.

She delivers health checks and a locally commissioned minor ailment service as well as a private PGD minor ailment service.

But getting out into the local community is where she has made a terrific impact, working with Hull City FC and vaccinating all their players and staff with a range of travel vaccination ahead of overseas tours.

Katie also offers testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and the pharmacy has started offering a phlebotomy service with blood taken to diagnose a variety of conditions.

“This is a pharmacy that has a core business of dispensing items but is also a growing based on its private services,” another judge said. “You can’t knock that.”